Friday, October 2, 2015

First Feeder Birds

Oof, did all of September just go by? Things are pretty hectic around here right now, so I'm just grabbing whatever scraps of time I can find to be outside (and it's not nearly enough). Fortunately for me (because I need nature to be happy), our neighborhood birds have become an ever stronger presence in our yard over the past month. Yellow-rumped Warblers -- with yellow throats, here in the west -- have been foraging in the pine trees over our house in the evenings, the Black Phoebe continues to hunt in our back yard, and I even looked outside the other day to see a Northern Waterthrush (a rare bird for this area) poking through my little aphid-filled garden.

Even better, the birds have found our window feeders! When we put the feeders up a couple of months ago, I was pretty skeptical that any birds would find them at all, since our house is relatively exposed, without a lot of low trees or bushes to attract passing birds and help direct them to the feeders. Plus, Tufted Titmouses have historically been the birds to first discover our window feeders in Connecticut and Ohio, and we don't have any titmouses here in Northern California! But as it turns out, our Chestnut-backed Chickadees are an equally exploratory and adventuresome species. These handsome little birds discovered the feeders a few weeks ago, and now we get daily visits. Sometimes they bring along the Black-capped Chickadees (who I've noticed tend to forage higher up in the trees in our yard, while the Chestnut-backs do more work around our fences and buildings), and most recently a few Red-breasted Nuthatches (wonderful squeak toys!) have shown up as well. Birds! Up close!

This Chestnut-backed Chickadee sat at one of our feeders, chirping and snacking, for several minutes the other day while I snuck around outside with my camera:

I love, love, love, these birds with their fancy brown vests! How do you make a chickadee even cuter? Dress it up in a little coat:

Sorry, Black-capped Chickadees, you're wonderful as well, and I love having your familiar faces around, but in this particular yard, the Chestnut-backed Chickadees are the biggest characters:

Keep coming back for more seeds, fancy birds:

While I'm already here, here are some pictures from the scattered moments I've had outside over the past several weeks. This Chestnut-backed Chickadee was looking a bit more natural (and very fluffy) in the eucalyptus trees next to our driveway:

In the first week of September, on a walk through the dunes, a hummingbird (I'm not sure of the species) zoomed out next to the path and posed for a few pictures:

I love the flashes of green on the back of its little head:

Way back in mid-August, I watched a bunch of American Crows picking through some beach-goers belongings at Big Lagoon County Park. These crows know how to find food:

Next to the lagoon, a Great Blue Heron was perched in a tree, not the kind of setting I'd expect for these birds:

If you're wondering, yes, everywhere around here is awesome.